I Am Broken Hearted

After hearing of the death of a retired Omaha Police Officer, Keith Thompson, I am reminded of the times I saw him with his wife at therapy in Immanuel Hospital Therapy/Water Therapy Department. He was injured as a very young officer; a car accident, a stolen Jeep with a juvenile driving t-boned his patrol car. His partner was injured, Office Thompson nearly lost his life.

He was paralyzed from the waist down, and he had the same rehab doctor I had. I saw him with his wife at the warm water pool, she helped him try to do his exercises in the water. Once, he got his foot to move, and she was excited, she leaned in and kissed him. I was so touched by that. Small victories helped, I imagine.

This happened probably at least 25 years ago. I lost track of his progress; I remember when he went back to work, he had a desk job, and retired after a 30 year career with the OPD. We were lucky to have him protecting and serving. I did not know he and his wife divorced 15 years ago. Life like theirs had to be difficult. There had to be depression, no matter how much you worked to rise above it. I’m so sorry for that part of their life. I am deeply sorry suicide was the cause of death.

They had twin boys later, and already had a little boy when I used to see him, in his wheel chair, racing the little boy to the therapy wing. It was so sweet, and made me be in awe of his attitude and zest for life and getting better.

Whatever happened after he retired in the last couple years must have become too much for him. His ex-wife and three sons were on the news last night, during National Suicide Awareness Month, they wanted to tell their story, their heartache. They had no idea Keith had such problems he couldn’t talk with someone. I’m so sad he felt so alone, that no one could help him. He always seemed so positive in interviews, etc. over the years.

After one of those warm water therapy sessions years ago, Mrs. Thompson took Keith to a family dressing room, dressed him, and set him in the hall in his wheelchair while she hurriedly took a shower and dressed. I told her the citizens of Omaha were with her, and that I personally prayed for them every day. She thanked me, then hurried to take her husband home.

And now, to the former Mrs. Thompson and her full grown sons: I am still praying for all of you. And for him. And I’m so deeply sorry for all of you. I’m sorry he gave up, but in a way I understand. And I still admire how long and hard he worked to get better. I hope you still know how Omaha appreciated his 30 years of service to it’s citizens. Prayers, love, and hugs.

Sundayish/Monday

Wow. It was a tired evening. I totally spaced off writing yesterday until the Babe asked me if I did a blog or not. I was really tired and in need to having a very productive day today. We lost another friend on Friday, and it appears his funeral will be on Friday. It’s a day I’ve dreaded for awhile, and know it will be difficult. The good thing is how good a friend he was. I got exactly this far, and decided the best thing I could do was go to bed.

And so it goes when your body tells you to stop, right there and then, and rest. I hated not having a blog for yesterday. And I knew it was the best thing to do. We need to collectively do much more of that. This is very different from pushing through to achieve your goal. Resting also helps you meet your goal. It looks like activity has stopped. Lots of action is going on behind the scenes, where a body is resting. The brain becomes more creative. The body recharges and regains stamina.

I thought I would wake ready to hit the keyboard today. I did wake, but I’m not winning any races today. And that’s ok. It will take me more than a night to recover from this worn out. Today, I have a full list of things to achieve. Many of them will be accomplished from the comfort of the couch using the laptop or Chromebook. I will log many hours with the heating pad today, and that should kick this fatigue for now.

Have you ever had an adrenaline rush from being around a hyped up individual? You enjoy the “high” of their energy, and it can lead to a crash of energy afterwards. I have several friends like that, and am pleased to work with them for fundraising events in the area. Jay Miralles is such a dynamo. He is the founder of the 50 Mile March Nonprofit, twice sponsoring a 50 mile walk/march from Lincoln Nebraska to Omaha Nebraska. He is amazing under any hat he wears; fundraising is one of his specialities. We are learning so much from him, and it will be a tremendous partnership.

Sometimes, these “highs” last a few days, then exhaustion sets in. I’m excited about the future and all we can do. We will do great things, with the blessings of God and the support of many good people. Let’s press on, resting when we need, and make the world better for hosting us. Have a beautiful day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Sunny Sunday

The morning looks beautiful today. The temperature here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska should reach 60 + degrees today! Holy smokes! We have Gavin for the day and look forward to having a fun day with him. Goldie will have a partner to play fetch all day long! They’ll tire out tonight. Bonus!

Every year since about 1983, I’ve read one of 365 meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics. I’ve said before, Mom was the alcoholic, and two brothers had varying degrees of the same illness. Dad and I weren’t. The behaviors and disappointments affected us. Today’s reading affected me just as hard as the first time I read it.

People have the right not to recover. – Lauren B.

What? People have the right not to recover. Yes, I know they have asked you for help, either directly or indirectly. You pitched in with all the solutions and what you would do if (no one ever gives us bystanders a to do or don’t do list). But you’re not him or her. You are applying a hopefully sound mind to the situation. They don’t have a sound mind. They are an addict or alcoholic or both. Prescription drugs can be involved. You clean their packed house and they hide their thoughts behind a false smile. You chauffeur them and do favors for them. You think they are with the program, whichever one it is. Months go by. You assume they are getting better, yet they still mistreat you.

It would be great if recovery were that easy. By simply showing a person needed help, it could make him or her whole. They could recover if we only offered enough, prayed enough, or upended our lives enough to help them. No. Not unless they really, truly, want it and do their own work.

There is a fallacy in the thought process of “I’m not drinking, so I’m doing good.” Not if you’re still rude to people. Not if you take your foul mood out on them. Not if you belittle your children. Not if you are still argumentative. Not if you’re still addicted to porn. Not if you still say demeaning things to women. Drinking is only a symptom of what’s really wrong.

We can’t force someone to change. Getting inside someone’s head and making choices for them to ensure their success isn’t the way. Their own free will, dictating what their choices are, is what guides their paths. Painful as it is sometimes, our loved ones do not recover. They do not want to. Their thinking still stinks. Their moods are still swinging back and forth. They believe they are ok and they recovered. Then all it takes is one beer, one shot, one cocktail, and there goes the roller coaster again.

All we can do is distance ourselves from them. Yes, we can love them from afar. We can pray to God to keep them safe. And we need to love ourselves first. No more secrets. No more lies. Just total honesty. We owe it to ourselves and to them to tell the truth. Our truth. Our part of their truth. They tell their own truth. And their part of our truth.

It’s painful to see someone you love hit bottom. It’s painful to see someone you love refuse help. Break the law. Engage in horrible behavior. They are sick. The sickness is all they know. The sickness is their obsession. We can’t change it. We don’t have to take part in it. Distance saves our sanity, always. We need to take our comfort in the fact God will care for them when they won’t care for themselves.

As we go forward, those of us in the situation of being bystanders, we need to promise ourselves to stay on the sidelines. Work on understanding their situations and choices. I know, but we have to let go and let them make their own mistakes even where we are concerned. It’s just not worth wasting our precious energy on anymore. Step back and replace that negativity in our lives with something beautiful and positive. And don’t take it personally. They don’t like themselves either. Sad, yet true. Continue your journey. Wait no longer for them. They aren’t ready to find their way yet.

Let’s take stock in our relationships. Keep the thriving ones. Keep the new ones that are promising. Back burner the ones where you’re always the one to keep in touch. Back burner the ones where you always have to plan contacts or get cancelled at the last minute. You’re not a priority to them. Make yourself a priority and see how things change. Tolerate only that which respects you as a person, and honors you as a friend.

Thank you for reading. We’re enjoying Gavin today and even took a cheat day to have our first ice cream of the season. Lucky us! Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Courteous. See you tomorrow! My heart is full!